An O.J. Simpson Book Deal Is Considered Poison By Major Publishers

With O.J. Simpson's release from prison imminent, people are wondering what is the next step for "The Juice." Many think that a book, perhaps a memoir of sorts would be the expected first move, but most major publishers are saying no thanks. Despite the fact that a panel has given the thumbs up to paroling Simpson, the sentiment still leans heavily anti-Simpson, and publishers fear backlash and even a boycott. The theory is that few people want to read a book about O.J. Simpson working through struggles, and now feeling really good about himself.

Many people think that with the popularity of the two mini-series about O.J. Simpson, that a follow-up book would be a given, but a Simpson memoir would not tell readers anything that they don't already know. Both series showed Simpson's downfall, his low points, and the only thing Simpson could write about is his time behind bars, and how he is now committed to being a parent to his children. Simpson explained to the parole board that he just wants to move back to Florida and lead a simple life, and that is not something that any publisher will risk their reputation to take on. If he writes a book truly admitting that he in some way took part in the events that led to the death of his former wife Nicole and Ron Goldman, then O.J. Simpson might find it easier to secure a publisher.

In his past life, O.J. Simpson admitted that his focus was based on money, but even more, he wanted fame.

"As a kid growing up in the ghetto," he said, "one of the things I wanted most was not money – it was fame."

So even though O.J. Simpson's past was considered media gold, his future as a man who did his time for robbery and is now repentant is thought to be toxic in the publishing world. At this time, most major publishers are said to be taking a hard pass, because an O.J. project is thought to be not worth the trouble. Polls indicate that the majority of people still believe that Simpson is guilty of murder.

Keith Urbahn, president of publishing giant Javelin, says that people don't want to hear about Simpson's alleged redemption.

"Consumers won't spend 20 bucks on a self-aggrandizing book about how he's turned his life around."

The last Simpson publishing turn, his book If I Did It was a disaster and was said to be the reason that Judith Reagan was axed from her top position at HarperCollins. Top publishers are reluctant to put themselves in that position for a potential flop.

However, O.J. Simpson might be able to pocket some coin for sit down interviews related to his crime that landed him behind bars. ESPN's Bob Ley believes that there is still some hunger, particularly from people under forty to hear what O.J. Simpson has to say. While older people might have a fully formed opinion of Simpson, those who didn't live through his arrest and trial for murder might want to know what Simpson has to say.

"Think of it: Too many consumers of news and information, Simpson is as relevant as a Moon Landing. If you're not 35, 40 years old, you don't have a fully-formed memory of his criminal trial, and all that it entailed and represented. Clearly, the guy who could, with a straight face, tell a parole board he's led a 'conflict-free' life and be believed—and that's another story entirely—that guy isn't going to take you any place that hasn't been probed in the past 23 years."

And Ley believes that the things Simpson doesn't say, what he won't talk about will likely tell others whether O.J. Simpson is a changed man, or not.

"But I'd sure like to have the conversation. Sometimes interviews speak volumes in what they don't say, and how subjects don't say it."


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Ed Goren, formerly of Fox Sports says that he would jump at the opportunity to interview O.J. Simpson on television. From a sports perspective, in particular, O.J. Simpson is still a football God. However, Goren doubts that it will be a football outlet that gets the call.

"I think there's a certain fascination and curiosity about O.J. We're a country that loves gossip, whether it's TMZ or the tabloids. In the end, there will be tremendous competition to get that first interview whether it's 60 Minutes or the morning news shows."

Would you buy an O.J. Simpson memoir? Are you interested in seeing a post-jail interview of Simpson?

[Featured Image by Steve Marcus/Getty Images]